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Collage by Lia Kantrowitz | Images via Shutterstock
Life

To Hell With Pickup Trucks

Time for your weekly edition of Drew Magary’s Funbag. Today, we're talking about ice, eating food upside down, 69 jokes, and more.
Lia Kantrowitz
illustrated by Lia Kantrowitz
February 26, 2020, 7:00pm

Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Your letters:

Jeffrey:

The key to significantly reducing rush-hour traffic is eliminating semis from the road. Why has no one thought of preventing them from driving on expressways during rush hours? And it would be easy to implement! I for one welcome our robot trucker overlords, which would make this exponentially easier.

I am sure other people have considered that idea, only to discover it’s not possible. Trucking is almost a trillion-dollar industry. According to BI, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says nearly six percent of ALL jobs in America are trucking jobs. Amazon alone owns over 20,000 trucks. Given our shit infrastructure, you can’t just ban trucks from the road at various hours, spanning four-plus time zones, and not fuck everything up. You’d disrupt the flow of nearly every consumer good exchanging hands throughout the course of a normal American workday. Also, some Teamster boss named Spider would come and beat you to death with a tire iron. There’s no way to wean ourselves off trucks without implementing high-speed freight railroads, or passing environmental laws limiting truck emissions and shipping distances, or inventing teleportation.

In the meantime, they could reduce everyday traffic here by getting rid of all the NON-necessary trucks from the road. That includes soccer mom SUVs, Suburbans, the dreaded Hummer, monster trucks (Gravedigger, what have you), and pickup trucks. Especially pickup trucks. Over 15 percent of vehicles on the road right now are pickup trucks, and they fucking suck. I hate them. They all deserve to be keyed.

I am well aware that pickup trucks are a legitimate necessity for contractors, landscapers, day laborers, and anyone else whose job is dependent upon hauling around loose freight in the cab from site to site. But the majority of pickup truck owners don’t use their pickups for any of that shit. They just like driving a truck around and blasting Lady Antebellum out of the window. They want all the cushiness of an SUV while pretending they’re longshoremen. They’re fucking poseurs.

America’s boner for pickups goes back years. Politicians use them to make themselves relatable to all the faux hardscrabble cave people living out in the sticks. Ads for them litter every NFL broadcast. Half are all country music songs feature some guy with a painted goatee chirping about how his truck is more loyal than his woman. Pickup trucks are a fucking DISEASE among these people, and they’re representative of rednecks’ aggressive need to destroy the world just to make their dicks look bigger. Pickup trucks get shit mileage. They don’t fit regulation in parking spaces. They have front blind spots that are INCREDIBLY dangerous to any kid or dog that dares step in front of one.

And they’re only getting worse. Every year, Ford and Chevy unveil an updated model of pickup that’s taller, shinier, and more openly belligerent. These are trucks designed with the priority of displaying your NRA back window decal as prominently as is possible. They serve no other purpose other than to make dickheads feel better about themselves. They are AR-15s in car form.

I have driven a pickup truck before. It’s fun as shit to sit up there and lord over the road. But it’s not worth getting my jollies off just to toodle around in a vehicle designed to intimidate other cars on the road for no good reason. If you drive a pickup truck, but you don’t use it the way it was intended, you’re a gaping asshole and everyone knows it. They should require a special license for you to drive one, and you better be a fucking certified bricklayer to qualify.

Rich:

I’ve just started eating toast with the topping facing down when I chew. This means instead of delicious jam or nut butter sticking to the roof of my mouth it is delivered directly to my tongue with no delay. Obviously it’s not topping down on the plate. My question is does everyone do this, or am I a genius? Should I be lauded by society or shunned for displaying serial killer behavior?

I understand the logic. I’ve turned food upside down to make sure I get the important stuff onto my tongue first, with Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and sprinkle donuts being the worthiest candidates of them all. I’ve probably tried this with toast toward the end of eating a piece, when there’s less risk of shit falling off than if I inverted my toast right from the get-go. It’s funny that I’d be skittish about making a mess when toast is, with no good reason, one of the messiest foods on Earth. You take one bite of toast—right side up or however else—and suddenly there’s a hailstorm of crumbs all over the goddamn place.

But I’m not gonna change my ways and start eating toast, pizza, and other top-heavy foods upside down. I’m also not gonna make my burger toppings into bottomings like a crazy asshole. It’s not necessary. The good shit is still gonna reach my taste buds. Once I’ve taken a bite, my mouth does a little shuffling around here and there and HEY PRESTO. The pepperoni is now in full effect. It’s just that easy. Doing it your way could make the whole process 0.00000001% more efficient, but that’s for Silicon Valley to monetize, not me.

Aaron:

Assuming no extreme personal weight loss and 30-40 more years of life, could you make it through the remainder of your days with the clothing in your wardrobe today, shoes, socks, and underwear not withstanding? I think I could except for exercise shorts and anything with an elastic waistband.

Oh you better believe I could. I’m in my 40s. I’m already trying to make my wardrobe last forever. I wear the same getup so often that I look like a TJ Maxx mannequin that magically came to life. Just a walking blur of neutral-colored polyester. These clothes are invulnerable to biodegradation. They might contain some nuclear waste, I’m not sure. But they’re comfortable and I don’t want to spend any more on clothing than the cumulative $35 I’ve already spent on it. That’s because I care about the world. Also, I don’t want to have to break in a new hoodie. The ones I own have already had their fibers lovingly imbued with my deodorant runoff.

My father-in-law rarely, if ever, wears new clothes. He sees no reason to replace garments that have already served him well. He’ll gladly pad around in a pair of Levi’s that he bought back in 1982. He’s the perfect case study for your question because he’s already proving that you can make your shirts and pants last forever if you’re determined enough. I have so much to learn from the man.

JD:

My friend just finished a final round of interviews for a high-level management position. His current supervisors both told him it was imperative that he write thank-you emails to every individual on the hiring committee (of which there were 11), thanking them for the interview. I contend that this is dumb and bad. If the decision to hire or not is contingent on having received a generic, insincere email that tells them nothing new about me as a candidate they didn’t already get in the interview, then this hiring committee is petty and dumb and I don’t want to work for them anyway. What say you?

Who says those letters have to be generic and insincere? You can actually write a GOOD thank-you email if you put more than five minutes of thought into it. You can be charming and candid and not just sound like you wrote a form letter. We’re not even talking about a hand-written note. It’s an email. You’re not digging a ditch. Also, it’s better to write those emails and have them turn out to be superfluous to the hiring process rather than the other way around. Know what I mean? If it’s a nice job, you may as well do everything you can to get it.

Way too many people think this ritual is antiquated and unnecessary. I’ve had multiple instances where someone I didn’t know reached out to me for a favor or for information, and then I helped them out, and then NOTHING. Like, the least you can do is send a “Thanks!” just so I know you GOT the fucking answer you needed. Some motherfuckers can’t even be bothered! My standards are so low now that if someone actually acknowledges a favor done—even in the laziest, most cursory fashion possible—I’m like, “This person’s a real go-getter!”

So yeah, your friend should send the emails. It might be the simplest way to differentiate himself from all the other ungrateful mouthbreathers applying.

Jon:

Everyone here in Braves Nation accepts that Bobby Cox was a great manager because he won a bunch of division titles and all his players loved him. I believe that he was actually mediocre at best because he only won one World Series out of all that talent. Am I wrong?

You should hate Bobby Cox because he was a wifebeater. As for his managerial record, I think it’s safe to say that he was pretty exceptional at his job. I’m a Twins fan, so I hated those Braves teams and I still take delight in the fact that they only managed to eke out one title from 15 years of sustained excellence. I’m as liable as anyone to do the whole COUNT THE RINGZ take when it comes to them. But I’m not stupid. Those Braves won the NL East 14 times, including 11 times in a row. That’s insane. You don’t just luck into a streak like that, especially a few years before the wealth gap in baseball became as pronounced as it is now.

Also, I just watched Andy Reid win a Super Bowl after spending decades being the NFL head coach who was always good but never quite good enough. That title made Reid’s greatness clear when it already should have been. So, objectively speaking, Cox deserves the same benefit of the doubt.

Just kidding. Fuck him sideways.

Kate:

I love my boyfriend. So I'm a little upset that there is one genre of joke he doesn't "get" but I don't have the heart to bully him into understanding. The other day, he changed the temperature of the air conditioner to 69, and when I said "Hehe nice" he didn't get it. Then, we went to a wedding with his friends and someone said 420, and he didn’t know why I laughed. How do I rectify that I'm in love with someone who doesn't understand the most classic and lighthearted humor?

You can forgive him for all that. Given that he’s the ONE guy on Earth who doesn’t go NICE after seeing a 69 out in the wild, you could probably sell him on eBay as a collector’s item. Such a rarity might fetch $200 on the open market.

But you love the guy, yeah? So big fucking deal if he’s ignorant of two jokes that the rest of the world has beaten into the ground a million times over. Now if he didn’t laugh at farts, that would be a whole other thing. No one could live with that kind of tight-ass. But if he’s an otherwise amusing fellow and he’s willing to be EDUCATED in basic memecraft, I don’t think it’s worth cutting bait just so you can find yourself some guy out there who’s gung ho for making a calculator say boobs upside down. I still enjoy that practice. But then again, so does Donald Trump Jr. I wouldn’t make it vital criteria for landing a mate. “Searching for SWM! Must love that one Gene Wilder gif!”

HALFTIME!

Matt:

Settle an argument for me: My wife told me that I need to drink more water. I told her that I drink plenty of water, including my two cups of coffee in the morning. She responded that coffee was not water, but instead was its own drink, like soda or juice. I say it's water that has been flavored and enhanced with coffee. Also, adding tea leaves to water gives you tea, but it's still just flavored water. Am I right?

But isn’t everything flavored water? What do think the chief liquid in soda and juice is? Unless you’re drinking Pepsi, it’s not mercury. All those drinks have water in them despite the fact that they aren’t “water” in the literal sense. They’re solutions. That includes coffee. In other words, you’re technically right but spiritually wrong. God, I hate waffling over this. Let’s just call you wrong.

The good news for you is that coffee is NOT dehydrating, as urban legends might have you believe. It’ll make you shit with a frantic urgency. But it’s an otherwise decent method of fluid intake, provided you’re not one of those loons who mainlines a dozen cups before 10am. I wouldn’t make coffee your ONLY means of hydration. You should mix it up for the good of your system. There’s potato vodka, for instance.

Also, you can be like me and forgo regular-ass water for the glories of seltzer. I drink enough seltzer to make my bladder expand to the size of a small moon. It’s the best.

Mike:

Does Jim Harbaugh scream every time he takes a shit?

Yes. Attack each toilet with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.

Ben:

Let’s say one day we all have to get knuckle tattoos, because reasons. You can pick eight letters or numbers across both hands, but you can’t pick “LOVE HATE”, because related reasons. What’s your pick?

I wouldn’t have picked LOVE and HATE anyway because Radio Raheem and his rings hold a rightful monopoly over using those words as hand décor. Anyone else who tattoos those words on their knuckles looks like they play bass for Crazytown. GTFO.

Given the character limits, you’re asking me for the tattoo equivalent of a vanity plate. Long ago, I decided that if I ever got a vanity plate (I don’t have one because I don’t wanna pay for it), it would be NSFW. But that would only work for one hand tat. An obvious alternative for me would be to put DEAD on one hand and SPIN on the other. But if Deadspin’s current owners reboot the site as Barstool But With Prettier Ads (which is precisely what they’ll do), I would end up regretting those tattoos in an instant.

I could put my name across my hands, but it would get cut off at DREW MAGA, which would again be regrettable. Somehow this is harder than naming a boat. Such a shame I have more than two children. Thus, I only have one option:

HÜSK ERDÜ

That would inevitably be greeted by some kid flashing their own knuckle tats at me that say OKBO OMER. That’ll be a great time. Finger tattoos look like shit.

Mike:

Should I feel guilty about how often I return products on Amazon Prime? I feel like I try out and return more than half of what I buy so much so that I will cavalierly order ANYTHING I can return because it can be in and out of my house in less than 24 hours. I obviously don't care about Amazon but am I hurting the mom & pops and the environment?

I quit Prime years ago because it made me feel like a demonstrably worse person. If I can get a box of crackers delivered to me overnight, with no additional fees, the temptation is way too strong. We’re talking instant Triscuits here, man. Who can resist their siren song? Not I.

I don’t think there’s any way to moderate your Prime usage without quitting it outright. It’s like retail heroin. You can say,“Amazon is evil” all you like and know it’s true in your soul, but they don’t give a shit so long as you keep relying on them for bulk deliveries of ribbed t-shirts. You’re supporting them without “caring” about them, in which case your indifference exists mostly so you can feel better about yourself. I know ALL about being this kind of passive capitalist. I preach what I don’t practice. Quitting Prime represents my absolute feeblest attempt to resist BIG EVERYTHING. I still drive a car with an internal combustion engine. I still use regular Amazon (their non-Prime free shipping is still quick enough for most things). I eat meat. We bought disposable diapers for all three of our kids. Mine is, as I’ve said elsewhere, a quietly damnable existence.

It’s fine to feel a LITTLE guilty about all this, but that guilt won’t amount to much in the long run. If you want to make a tangible difference, you need to (broken record) vote and you need to call for Amazon to be broken up into 500 separate companies. In fact, we need to break up Jeff Bezos himself. Remove all of his botox injections and calf implants and separate him into different cuts of human using a band saw, and then each of those pieces of him has to enter the Peace Corps. Then you’ll be able to return defective fidget spinners without a trace of guilt.

Hamilton:

I lived in rural deep southern Illinois for like 5 years and the most outlandish thing I ever saw was in East Cape Girardeau, IL. The "town" has a population of roughly 400 and the entire town is just two trailer parks, a strip club and a saloon. I was driving through there and the strip club had one of those signs with the changeable lettering mounted way up above the road. It read:

CONGRATS CLASS OF 2013

NOW HIRING

Lenny Dykstra is now driving 100mph to that town as we speak.

Matt:

Over the last few weeks I have observed a coworker who I don’t know personally drinking coffee in the bathroom. Not just bringing it into the bathroom and setting it down, but actually consuming it. As if that wasn’t disgusting enough, today was something else. I open the bathroom door to see him exiting a stall with his iced coffee in hand. I don’t have a question. I just hope this can spread awareness that consuming food or beverage in a public bathroom is monstrous.

It is? I don’t agree with that. I will NOT spread awareness of such falsities. I’ve had coffee on the shitter. Hell, some people NEED coffee on the shitter to get the gears turning. I don’t have a problem with that that. It’s not like you’re holding some master cup of coffee that 25 people have to share. It’s your coffee, thus your business. Same deal as whipping out your phone on the can. You’re operating in your own ecosystem when you do that kind of thing. So long as you wash up afterward, you’re not Patient Zero for the spread of coronavirus. That’s Bob from human resources, not you.

I’ve eaten on the shitter. Not a proud moment, but nature called and I didn’t want to put my stick of Polly-O on the counter in the interim. I was gonna tweet about this. I was gonna post “eatin’ cheese on the toilet again,” but I know how that kind of tweet will be received. Drew, rethink this. Some things are much better to tuck into the folds of an otherwise longer column. When you tweet such a thing, you shine 500 spotlights on it. I’m wilier than that. I will not recklessly endanger my freedom to consume string cheese while pushing out a maple long john.

Michael:

Where is your favorite place to glean recipes from/read cooking tips? Specific website, cookbook, newspaper, etc.? Mine is Serious Eats, but sometimes it's a little too serious, ya know?

Sometimes, yeah. The first thing I read at Serious Eats was a recipe for homemade ramen that involved stewing pig bones for, like, nine days. I was like, “This is out of hand.” But they also have more efficient recipes on that site, like for smashed cheeseburgers and for basic crepes. They’re not all labor intensive, and at least Kenji is up front about what’s actually easy to make, unlike other places that act like making your own butter from scratch is the simplest, least time-consuming thing you’ll ever do.

I have no go-to source for recipes. A lot of recipes in the Ina Garten books are reliable and relatively painless to make. It’s why that woman is now worth $760,000,000. But otherwise, I just Google around, usually landing on recipes from Allrecipes or Epicurious that get a four- to five-star aggregate rating from users. That’s one of the rare times that online reviews are useful, because of the home cooks in the comments will note that the listed cooking time isn’t long enough, or that they subbed out broccoli for pepperoni and the dish turned out way better. Two weeks ago I made this sticky toffee pudding after it was the first result that popped up. Best goddamn dessert I’ve ever made.

I trust those search results more than I trust a cookbook. Most cookbooks are vanity projects. They’re ads for a famous chef’s restaurant, complete with loving photographs of food you’ll never be able to (or want to) replicate yourself at home. You’re better off hopping online and browsing through recipes that have been vetted by fellow schmucks.

NOTE: this advice goes by the wayside if you’re looking for a HIGHLY specific kind of food, barbecue being the most notable of the bunch. For that, you have to dig deeper and go to Amazing Ribs or some other site that all the smokeboys swear by. I wouldn’t smoke a brisket off some shit you got from the Food Network’s site. You need a better authority than that.

Also, Bon Appetit posts good recipes, but you have to endure all their obnoxious copy to get to them. You’ve been warned.

Geoff:

At what level do you prefer your ice? I prefer light ice but I sometimes get no ice. Like you, I'm a thirsty guy and will put down comical amounts of beverages at a sitting. I could be eating oatmeal and my mouth would feel dry. Big Drink has convinced us that we need our drinks at 33 degrees but aren't we wasting valuable beverage real estate? My mom won't accept anything less than FULL ICE.

For anything flat, I’m with your mom. Gimme all the ice. I want my throat to fucking shatter after I’ve tossed down that lemonade. For carbonated drinks, I like half-ice. That way, the drink gets cold but there’s not so much ice melt that the bubbles get murdered. Such an easy way to ruin a Big Gulp of Double Dew XXXX. Otherwise, I want as much ice as I can get away with. If it crowds out the glass, I can always get a refill.

This is why those big whiskey cubes that fancy joints use are so handy. They’re cool to look at, and they make me feel like a CEO. But they also have a functional value because they keep your old fashioned cold without diluting it too much. I have a cheap silicon tray to make these kinda cubes and I was gonna throw it out because I can’t drink alcohol anymore. But then I was like you know, you can use big ice in OTHER drinks too, Drew. And so I shall.

Email of the week!

Lauren:

My husband and I throw two big parties a year at our house, one on Halloween and one roughly around the 4th of July. Last Halloween we bought a pumpkin to carve but ended up just leaving it whole and sitting by our front door, and then promptly forgot about it after the party. Fast forward to near spring, when we realized it was still perfectly intact. Like the adults we are we decided to see just how long it could go, but we're in Texas so the heat plus spring rain just melted it. Now it's a gross little pumpkin slop pile on the stoop.

Real question is this: our next summer party is June 29, so should we stay committed and let it totally disappear on its own? Or scrape it up before partygoers arrive and realized we're garbage people who let a pumpkin rot for 9 months by our front door?

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Photo by Lauren

I’d charge admission to people if they want an up-close look.